Edinburgh's Eye Pavilion: 'out of date' review is now complete

Health bosses in Lothian have confirmed a review of the future of eyecare services in the region has now been completed – but Tory MSP Miles Briggs says it is already out of date because of the election pledge to build a new eye hospital.
Plans for the new eye hospital were well advancedPlans for the new eye hospital were well advanced
Plans for the new eye hospital were well advanced

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NHS Lothian ordered the review after the Scottish Government said in December it would not fund a replacement for the no longer fit-for-purpose Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, despite agreeing to it in principle in 2018.

After a public outcry and opposition calls for a rethink, Nicola Sturgeon promised during the election that a re-elected SNP government would fund a new hospital after all, if that was what NHS Lothian wanted.

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The review, conducted by private firm Buchan Associates, went ahead anyway.

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And now NHS Lothian have told Mr Briggs: "We have now received the report, and we are considering options entailed and will make recommendations in due course."

But Mr Briggs said: "Really this is out of date – it was trying to make a square fit into a circle for Scottish ministers. Now that doesn't need to take place I'm hoping we will see an ambitious vision around eye-care services and a new hospital, not what was basically a review looking at how you rationalise services across the area. I hope we take a step back from this because I don't believe it would be supported by campaigners or patients.

“I want to get the project back to where it was and then there will be discussions of some of the ideas which were in the review which I’ve never said are wrong. If patients in East Lothian can have check-ups in Haddington that makes sense – it's less travel for people who have visual impairment. Some of that work I would welcome and hope we could take forward, but that was being used as a fig leaf to cover up the scrapping of a new hospital. What we now need to see is that fully committed to, funded and for the health board to look towards potentially some of the service redesign which should have been happening anyway but with the replacement hospital.”

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